Nearly $1.5 billion in Fed Funding Available for State Opioid Response

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released the next round of State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding, amounting to nearly $1.5 billion spread over two years. SOR funding increases access to FDA-approved medications treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), and supports prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and other substance use disorders (SUD). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra emphasized the need for state and local partnerships…

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Vetoes Strike Down Two Bills on Renters’ Assistance and Protections

On Friday, May 27th, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed two housing-related bills, one concerning eviction proceedings and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and another impacting county licensing schemes for rental housing. On the final scheduled day of post-session decisions, the governor vetoed 18 bills and allowed 294 others to take effect without his signature. Because the 2022 election will install a new General Assembly for 2023, the votes may not be overridden in the next…

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Behind Schedule: Youth Vaccination Rates Lag in Maryland

Maryland's youth are forgoing COVID-19 and routine vaccinations, raising severe concerns among public health experts. The Baltimore Sun reports vaccination rates among Maryland youth are falling behind for influenza (flu), human papillomavirus (HPV), and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines. The latter is of particular concern to Dr. William Moss, the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center's Executive Director. In a quote provided to the Sun, Dr. Moss explained his concerns: “I’m most worried about measles; we…

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Anne Arundel Cooling Centers Aim to Beat the Heat

Anne Arundel County recently set up several cooling centers to assist residents during the predicted prolonged hot and humid summer. Anne Arundel County will make several County facilities available for cooling relief during the upcoming summer season, in response to the predicted prolonged hot and humid conditions. Community members who need temporary relief from the heat can stop in and utilize the designated facilities during their normal business hours. The following facilities will be available…

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Congress Advances Significant Mental Health Bills

On Wednesday, May 18th, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to advance two critical pieces of legislation providing mental health support to counties. The bills include H.R. 7666 - Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 and H.R. 7233 - Keeping Incarceration Discharges Streamlined for Children and Accommodating Resources in Education Act (KIDS CARES Act). According to the National Association of Counties (NACo), H.R. 7666 includes the following: Reauthorization of SAMHSA’s Community Mental Health Services…

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On Anniversary of Floyd’s Death, White House Tackles Police Reform

On Wednesday, May 25th, the White House will issue an executive order to promote police reform within state and local police agencies. The Washington Post notes federal grant funding will incentivize reform, including tightening "restrictions on the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants." Moreover, the federal government will restrict local law enforcement access to military equipment. Maryland likely benefits from the executive order as it continues to implement 2021's Police Accountability Act. The Act includes new…

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Garrett Receives Funding to Combat Youth Substance Abuse

The Garrett County Health Department receives its second year of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Local Drug Crisis Grant funding. Initially awarded in 2021 with the help of Congressman David Trone, Garrett is the recipient of a five-year CARA grant worth $50,000 per year. The grant has supported the county's Drug-Free Communities Coalition program, charged with reducing and preventing substance abuse by promoting youth substance abuse prevention strategies. The program includes members of the county's…

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Maryland Children Ages 5 to 11 Now Eligible for Boosters

Today, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) updated its guidance on vaccine eligibility to include COVID-19 boosters for children ages 5 to 11. The revised guidance states eligible children may only receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under an expanded Emergency Use Authorization announced earlier this week by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An eligible child should receive their booster at least five months after receiving their…

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Congressman Trone Secures $33 Million for Sixth District Community Projects

Congressman David Trone has helped secure $32,704,877 in funding for projects across Maryland's sixth congressional district, creating new jobs, delivering much-needed resources to Sixth District communities, and restoring neglected infrastructure. The Congressman requested and received funding for 15 projects in the 2023 fiscal year. He described the process for identifying project recipients across the sixth district, encompassing the westernmost portion of the state, in a press release: “As a businessman, I know how vital it is to…

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COVID Roundup: Maryland’s Counties Remain Committed to Protecting Residents as Cases Rise

Across the state, the Maryland Department of Health's COVID-19 Data Dashboard details a noticeable uptick in COVID-19 cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 8.12% and 2,770 new cases reported within the last 24 hours as of the morning of May 19th. Maryland's counties have remained active in combatting any potential surges. Some specific actions taken by our counties include the following: Anne Arundel has requested residents wear masks indoors, get boosted, and receive testing…

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